The present huanghuali table is particularly elegant for its ruyi-shaped spandrels between the beaded-edged aprons and legs. The S-shaped braces join to the upper part of the inner corner of a leg, providing extra stability to the form. While an S-shaped brace is a characteristic of Ming dynasty furniture, the beautifully facetted square-section braces of the present table illustrate the extraordinary skills and attention to details of the artisan.
See a huanghuali lute table of slightly different proportion, also decorated with ruyi-shaped spandrels and square-section S-braces, dated to the late Ming dynasty and from the Dr S.Y. Ip collection, extensively exhibited, including Grace Wu Bruce, Dreams of Chu Tan Chamber and the Romance with Huanghuali Wood: The Dr. S. Y. Yip Collection of Classic Chinese Furniture, Art Museum, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1991, cat. no. 20, and recently sold in these rooms, 7th October 2015, lot 133. Similar spandrels can also be seen on another huanghuali square table in the Palace Museum, Beijing; the spandrel detail is published in Hu Desheng, Ming Qing gongting jiaju ershisi jiang [Twenty-four chapters on imperial furniture from the Ming and Qing dynasties], Beijing, 2010, vol. 1, p. 116, fig. 132.
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